June books

I read Intensity by Dean Koontz whilst camping. To be more specific I read the majority of this book whilst sitting on the toilet at the campsite as I had a stomach bug. It was one of the books in the campsite lending library when I ran out of reading material.

Chyna Shepherd goes to stay with one of her school friends but things don’t quite go to plan. A psychopath breaks into the family home and kills her friend Laura and her parents and then takes Laura’s body. Chyna doesn’t know her friend is dead so she hides in the killer’s motorhome to try and rescue her friend and so begins a game of cat and mouse. This was a cracking book. Fast paced and exciting and well worth a read.


Girl Friday by Jane Green is an entirely predictable read which made it perfect reading for when I was camping.

Kit McClore has finally found happiness after getting red of her useless and work-obsessed husband and instead of living in a giant Wall Street funded house she is living in a cosy new home with her children. She has a large circle of female friends who support her as she starts stating men again but these friendships aren’t exactly what they seem.

This is a really basic book in some ways. The writer explains everything to you and therefore it can feel quite twee, but I enjoyed it in a not-thinking sort of way.


206 Bones by Kathy Reichs is quite a dark story featuring Dr Temperance Brennan who is an anthropologist. She is trying to solve the murder of an elderly woman and she is convinced that it is linked in with three other murders. As well as trying to solve this murder she is also trying to work out who is attempting to sabotage her work as she is convinced she hasn’t made a mistake which could jeopardise her career.

This is quite a a good read although the character of Tempe can be really quite annoying. These books have formed the basis for the hit show Bones and on screen she is eve more annoying than in the books!


Journey to the South: A Calabrian Homecoming by Annie Hawes is an interesting but not alway easy to read book.

Annie returns with her Italian boyfriend to his homeland of Calebria which is about as far south in Italy as you can get. Totally different to their current home 1000 miles north in Liguria this book is about their discovery of long-lost relatives and recipes and a culture which is so different to their own. The reason this books isn’t so easy to read it is that it is very dense which descriptions of the people and places. Not that this is exactly a bad thing, but it can make for slightly tedious reading.


The Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney is a really charming book.

Three sisters, Anna, Bett and Carrie, known collectively during their childhood as the Alphabet Sisters due to their singing act lose touch over a horrible family argument after Carrie steals Bett’s fiance off her. They are estranged for three years and only reunite after their extremely eccentric and demanding grandmother Lola demands their presence at their parents’ motel for her 80th birthday. They are reunited before a terrible family tragedy draws them closer than ever.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were really lovely, although there were times when I wanted to slap them and tell them to grow up a bit. The ending did make me cry. It was unexpected and nicely dealt with. A good read 🙂


Too many fluffy chick lit books mean that I now turn to bloodshed and violence! Immediate Action by Andy McNab is the sequel to his book Bravo Two Zero which I reviewed here.

His second book continues in much the same vein as his first although he talks more about the process of getting into the SAS. I have to admit that the dedication and commitment that these men show both through training and their daily work is extremely impressive. It’s a good read if you like these sorts of books, plenty of violence but an interesting insight into the life of those in the SAS.


Past Secrets by Cathy Kelly is a feelgood fluiffy book with a happy ending, or should that be happy endingS as there are several story lines in this one book?

Set on Summer Street the novel follows the lives of several of the residents, all with seemingly perfect livesm but all who have dark secrets. Amber, the 17-year old ‘perfect student’ who runs off with a grubby rock-star to America and her mother who has failed to tell Amber she is the result of a liaison with a grubby rock-star. Christie, retired housewife who had an affair with a famous artist and Maggie, Christie’s daughter who is getting over a relationship with a cheating scumbag. All the stories were predictably nice enough and I enjoyed it. A perfect commuting book for when I am on the bus at 7.30am!


Confessional by Jack Higgins is a pretty pacey read. Mikhail Kelly is a man of many identities, known as Father Michael Kelly, Cussane or his codename of Cuchlain he has been working as a Catholic priest for over 20 years. Over this time he has committed many atrocities, blaming it on different terrorist organisations in Ireland and disrupting th peace process. Both British Intelligence and the IRA have been hunting for him for years. Only one person can kill him, a musical virtuoso called Tanya Voroninova, the surrogate daughter of a KGB general. Cussane is about to start his most darking mission, killing the pope. A good read. Not bad for a charity shop buy!


Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Kate Kerrigan is a really lovely and thoughtful book.

Tressa is a 30-something year old food writer and after a few torrid relationships she marries stable, but slightly boring Dan. On return from her honeymoon she realises that their relationship isn’t quite what she would hope it would be. Parallel to Tressa’s story is that of her grandmother Bernadine. Forced into a marriage with a lovely man who has real integrity but who she doesn’t love she constantly thinks of her true love who she was unable to marry. All through her life she thinks of her first love but tends dutifully to her husband.

This book has a recipe at the starts of each chapter, and the following two chapters seem to focus on each women in turn, using the recipe as an example of a period of time in their life, when this food was particularly important. The book shows developing love affairs and the understanding that marriage is something for the long haul and a relationship that has to be worked on, even if it takes a lifetime. For a novel I found this book really helpful, especially as I have recently got married. The story showed that love fluctuates within marriage but it is worth working for. A great book!


The First Assistant by Clare Naylor & Mimi Hare is about Lizzie Miller, an aspiring film producer who lives in Hollywood. Sadly her aspirations sadly don’t match her achievements, until one of her best friends lists her as associate producer in what he believes to be a complete flop of a film. This film goes on to win an Oscar and suddenly Lizzie finds herself most employable. Sadly during the lead up to this she is left to babysit a badly behaved film star and she rows with her devoted and successful boyfriend as she doesn’t want to be a kept woman. This is quite a good read, but I think it would be even better if I had read the first book!


Chocolate Wishes by Trisha Ashley is a really sweet read. Chloe Lyon is a single woman who has the most nuts family. Her grandfather is a warlock who writes novels about witchcraft and is opening a museum dedicated to the history of the subject, her aunt (or it is cousin? – I can’t remember!) is a gypsy who reads the tea-leaves and the Tarot cards and her half-brother is a 16-year-old goth who towers over her. Chloe herself makes chocolate wishes, hollow chocolates with a little message in, a bit like fortune cookies which she sells over the internet. The whole family move to a new village where there begin to ingratiate themselves into village life, and all is going well until the new vicar arrives and it turns out to be an ex-boyfriend who was a successful musician and who broke her heart. This is a nice read with an utterly predictable ending but I enjoyed it.


My Single Friend by Jane Costello is the most predictable of all chick lit novels I have ever read! Lucy is a successful PR person with a disastrous love life. She picks men who treat her like crap and who she lies to constantly to try and make herself feel better. The only man she is honest with is her geeky scientist flat-mate Henry whom she has known for 14 years. Lucy and her friends decide to give Henry a make-over to help him find a girlfriend and rather predictably shallow Lucy decides she is actually in love with him the minute he starts going out with one of her friends. The story was so predictable it almost made the book boring, but it was ok.


So… that’s my lot this month… can you tell I am now spending two hours a day on a bus due to commuting to work. My reading seems to have increased somewhat!

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Sometimes it is just blissful to stay at home and do domestic things. It’s all very well disappearing off to weddings and suchlike at the weekends, but that doesn’t mean that things don’t need doing at home.

Today The Mister and I have pottered and that has included going to Debenhams to collect the rest of our wedding stuff, buying new shoes, going to the camping shop and The Mister has mowed the lawn and I made pizza dough and homemade pizzas for tea. Yum.

P1040189Here is a pic of my new shoes… I know they look like something my Mum would have made me wear when I was 5 but they are flowery and lovely and tres comfortable (they should be really as they are Dr Martens!)

The only thing is, I hadn’t actually gone into the shop to buy these… I need some new Birkenstocks because mine are starting to smell like something might have died actually in the footbed of the shoe. But they didn’t have any. So I had to buy these, and then I had to order some new Birkenstocks online when I got home. Oops… how did that happen?

P1040195These are the first potatoes that I have harvested from the bag… I did feel a little bit like James Herriot, rifling around trying to find them but aren’t they beeeeyoooootiful? I feel quite proud that I have managed to grow them. We also have flowering courgettes and tomatoes and there are some tiny fruit coming on the strawberry plants. We also have chilli plants which aren’t showing much signs of flowers or fruit yet!

Finally, a pic of the lovely foxgloves in our garden.


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My favourite LOLcat ever!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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Wedding in windy Scarborough

The Mister and I have just got back from a fabulous weekend in Scarborough where our friends Lucy and Yousef got married.

We decided to make a weekend of it and stayed in a gorgeous B&B called Pillar Box Cottage which was just outside Scarborough but right near the wedding reception venue. It was absolutely gorgeous and the owners have gone well beyond what one would usually expect of a B&B. The rooms were lovely and comfortable and they had even included a fridge with proper milk and toiletries in the bathroom. Couple that with an exceptional breakfast and we were one happy couple!

P1040075Anyway, the wedding was at St Mary’s Church which is in the shadow of Scarborough Castle. A truly beautiful venue although the weather seriously conspired against us and provided gale force winds to make things really chilly.

The reception was in a lovely little hotel and the food was good… especially the bacon sarnies and chips at 10pm. All in all a fabulous day and the bride looked gorgeous and the groom was very handsome! The bride and groom also did the best choreographed dance… they had been practising for weeks I think!

P1040184Today we decided to go and explore Scarborough (and hopefully blow away The Mister’s ‘slight’ hangover. We walked up to Scarborough Castle and finally decided to become English Heritage members. The castle is extremely dramatic and very windy! Over 2500 years old the castle is mainly ruined but parts of it are still standing, including the imposing keep. I also found out that George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends was imprisoned there for 18 months. After we had finished at the Castle we walked down to St Mary’s Church, where the wedding had been help to have a look at Anne Bronte’s grave and then we went down to the sea front for fish and chips.

A fab weekend, although we had one crisis when we got home. We walked into the kitchen to see the cat’s litter tray washed and on the side, with no cat litter in it. We had forgotten to put it out… not a good thing when you leave the cat at home alone for a weekend. So, we spent a little time hunting for cat-shit but only found that the clever kitty had found the largest plant pot in the house and had used it as a littler tray… no sight of poo though so we might find some int he house somewhere. The only downside was that the plant pot was behind the TV so she had kicked out a load of soil all over the sky box and the DVD player. I still think she was quite clever though. Doesn’t stop me feeling guilty though, and she is currently outside sulking!


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Back to work

Well, I have just finished my first week at work. I have started working at a homelessness service which provides primary healthcare to those with no fixed abode, or who are in vulnerable accommodation. The team has access to GP’s, dentists, mental health nurses, support workers and the drug team, in which I will be working.

The team members are all really lovely although they have been under loads of pressure and people seem really quite maxed out. The plus side is that they seem very supportive. The clients are an interesting bunch. Like most vulnerable people with multiple needs they are extremely challenging, and when you have a few of these in the waiting room it can be quite confrontational. On one day this week we had the police called to a fight outside, the ambulance called to a bloke who collapsed and blood all over the reception area (no idea how that got there!)

There is so much to learn but I think I am going to really enjoy it. The only downside is that I won’t be able to go shopping in town without being hassled by clients, and I have to commute an hour each way. Watch out for the amount I am reading to increase significantly!

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Camping in Yorkshire

Well last week was fabulous! The Mister and I went with a whole bunch of people to Wyse House Farm Campsite near Malton.

When The Mister and I arrived on Sunday it was blowing a gale and the tent which usually takes us about 15 minutes to put up took us over 2 hours. We managed to crack one pole really badly (I can recommend Tenacious Tape for this!) and being inside the tent was like being inside a tumble drier. It was horrendous.

P1030812On Monday we woke to a beautiful sunny day and awaited the arrival of everyone else. Over the next few hours Tom and Anne and their boys arrived along with pants and Alien and the birdie family. We also erected a ginormous gazebo which proved to be brilliant at keeping the shade off us as well as a bit of rain. More people arrived later in the week, although I think the most we got to at any one time was seven adults and six children.

Rather typically it rained on the Tuesday so we went to the Yorkshire Air Museum where unsurprisingly we looked at planes. The little boys were happy and the big boys were even happier.

P1030877The rest of the week provided beautiful weather and on Wednesday we trailed off to Eden Camp. It was such a hot day that we even spent time shade-seeking which seems ridiculous in the UK! I last went to Eden Camp over 20 years ago when they were just developing it. It was a work camp during the Second World War and the musuem is contained within the huts that the prisoners used to live in. They also have built an assault course so the kids spent some time running off their energy, but to be honest they were just as happy having running races between the huts.

Unfortunately we seemed to have a nasty bug sweeping through out campsite and pants and I managed to pick up this bug and seemed to spent much of Wednesday night sitting on the toilets. I felt rubbish all day Thursday and only managed to start feeling better after eating nearly a whole packet of Immodium! So Thursday was a bit of a write off. Pants and Alien had to go home but everyone else just stayed on the campsite, the children went on the trampoline and ran about like lunatics, as well as playing with water pistols that birdie acquired for them. Of course this meant that Tom and The Mister also had to behave like 10 year olds and they managed to get wetter than anyone else!

P1030936Friday was the day we all went on the North York Moors Railway from Pickering to Goathland. It was another scorching hot day. Despite my protestations I love steam trains and this one as brilliant! It was even more exciting than usual though as about 20 minutes into the train ride the train stopped and the train staff rushed off the train to try and put out two fires along the track. Apparently one of the engines is chucking out cinders and they have had fires most days. So, lots of smoke later we continued out journey to Goathland which is where they film Heartbeat. The whole place feels really 1950’s and there are also sheep everywhere(and sheep shit!) We found a nice playpark for the kids and a pub for the adults. Coming back proved to be just as exciting as the fire brigade had shut the train line because of the fires so we queued for a coach and then were told they had allowed one final train out. We finally got back much later than expected with some very tired children and some equally knackered adults.

P1040003On Saturday Tom and Anne and the boys and The Mister and I went to Castle Howard which is a truly beautiful country house with one of the best Adventure Playgrounds I have ever seen. We had such a brilliant day. Anne and I bought tickets for the house so we went for a bit of culture and left the boys outside to listen to the half-term storyteller.

All in all it was such a brilliant week. I love camping anyway, but spending time with some of my best friends in a beautiful part of the world is the best thing about it. It was also really nice to spend some proper time with my godson who is totally gorgeous (not that I am biased of course!)

Unfortunately my life as a lady of leisure ends tomorrow as I start work. I can’t say that I am particularly looking forward to going back to work, not because I am lazy but because I like being at home! Oh well… The Mister has decreed I can’t be a lady of leisure any longer and I am practicing submission!!! (ha ha!)

Here are some more pics of the week…









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